Government & Politics

Kansan Sharice Davids gets boost from national Democratic ‘red to blue’ program

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee on Friday named Kansas Democrat Sharice Davids to its “red-to-blue” list of top-tier candidates — a designation that makes her eligible for organizational and fundraising help, staff resources and candidate training.

Davids, a Johnson County attorney, made history this week when she won a six-way primary contest to become Kansas’ first lesbian, Native American congressional nominee. She’s hoping to oust Republican Rep. Kevin Yoder, who is seeking his fifth term in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“As the daughter of a single mother Army veteran, Sharice Davids is running to be a voice for hardworking Kansas families,” committee chairman Ben Ray Luján said in a statement. “Sharice will work to protect affordable health care and expand opportunity for all Kansans. Sharice emerges from her hard-fought primary with the grassroots energy and momentum needed to flip this seat in her historic bid for Congress.”

The battle between Davids and Yoder could help determine which party controls the U.S. House. Already the committee has supported shown support for Davids by airing a television ad starting Thursday in the Kansas City market that accuses Yoder of being fueled by special interests and dubs him “the ultimate D.C. insider.”

Yoder, in turn, has accused Davids of being too “radically liberal” for the district.

Davids’ personal story has drawn national attention since her victory on Wednesday, but she’s a newcomer to politics with no legislative or public policy record to scrutinize.

Here is how she answered questions posed by The Star earlier in the campaign:

Q: Do you think that Medicare should be expanded to include everyone?

A: Everyone in America deserves easy access to quality, affordable health care. “Medicare for All” is a goal and a good slogan. But while we work toward that end, we need immediate solutions for people who are suffering and unable to receive health care right now.

Do you think that ICE should be abolished?

The call to abolish ICE stems from a very real problem and very real pain being inflicted by this agency. We have to address the root of the issues facing our country’s entire immigration system. We should not think of every person who tries to enter our country as a threat.

Some Democratic representatives, as well as high-profile donor Tom Steyer, have called for President Donald Trump’s impeachment. Would you vote for his impeachment? If not, what conduct from the president would merit your vote for impeachment?

No president is above the law, and all should always be held accountable for their actions. Before calling for the very serious act of impeachment, I would allow Special Counsel Robert Mueller and the multiple congressional committees investigating President Trump to conclude their proceedings and present definitive evidence that the standards of impeachment have indeed been crossed.

If the Democrats take back a majority in the House, would you support Rep. Nancy Pelosi for speaker? If not her, then whom?

As the only woman to ever serve as speaker of the House, Rep. Nancy Pelosi has shown tremendous leadership of the Democratic party. My focus now is on returning the House to Democratic control. After that happens in November, I look forward to working with the Democratic caucus to select the best leaders to guide us going forward.

How would you describe your campaign in 140 characters?

My historic campaign is a team effort to unite KS-03, change the face of KS politics and bring opportunity, equality and representation to all.

What’s an issue or subject you believe is important but isn’t being talked about enough?

Diversity. Not just in demographics but in experience. How many of our congressional members have struggled to afford health care? Or had to work their way through college? How many were raised by a single mom or started off at community college? When you’re making policy that affects everyone, everyone should have a say in that discussion.

When I was implementing federal policy on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and when I was creating it as a White House Fellow, I saw first-hand the disconnect that exists when decision makers have no connection to the communities they’re impacting. I saw that one new voice can change the entire conversation.

What’s the biggest difference between your campaign and your opponents’ campaigns?

Many of my fellow candidates talk about being a “voice for the voiceless.” I have built my campaign on the belief that everyone already has their own voice. I hear too many politicians claim to “be a voice for women, for minorities, for the LGBTQ community.” That’s not what we need. We need a representative who cares about the voices who have already been speaking up and crying out — but being ignored — for so long. Right now, too many Congress members and candidates don’t want to listen — they just want to talk. They are decision makers — not leaders.

Related stories from Kansas City Star